Part of the Cool Sites series
Today’s Cool Sites series post comes from guest education writer, Karen Schweitzer.
It has never been easier to create your own elearning resources or get a free education online. There are dozens of sites, content management systems, social learning networks, and open source products dedicated to making education more accessible and presentable to the masses. Here are 20 places that can be used to create or find free courses, tutorials, and lessons online.
LearnCentral – LearnCentral is a social learning network that makes it easy for members to share educational materials. Members can also connect in virtual classrooms and meeting rooms to collaborate and discuss coursework.
Connexions – This Rice University site was created for people who want to share their knowledge. Connexions users can publish learning modules and organize these units into courses, collections, or textbooks that can be freely accessed by anyone with an Internet connection.
Udemy – Udemy is a social learning network that allows anyone to create an online course for free. Site tools can be used publish videos, presentations, articles, and other learning materials. Udemy is also integrated with Twitter, Facebook and other applications so that you can market courses to your audience.
WiZiQ – Designed to help people learn and teach online, WiZiQ allows anyone to create or enroll in a virtual course. Users can also upload or view tutorials and tests. More than 70,000 teachers and 650,000 students have signed up already.
Eduslide – Eduslide visitors can create their own elearning courses and access thousands of pre-created courses and lessons. Courses and lessons can be presented through small learning modules, wikis, chat, blogs, slideshows, and more.
Empressr – This rich media presentation tool can be used to create courses, slideshows, and tutorials. Empressr presentations can include text, photos, videos, and audio and may be shared either publicly or privately.
SlideShare – If you already have course materials saved in Word, PowerPoint, audio, or video form, SlideShare is a good place to upload and present your resources to the public. The site supports all of these files and has a built-in system that allows you to organize them into a streaming presentation.
Vcasmo – This multimedia presentation tool can be used to create training seminars, courses, slide shows, and live events. Vcasmo supports a variety of file formats and uses permission control so that you can decide who sees your courses and who doesn’t.
Vyew – Vyew is a browser-based conference tool that can be used to create virtual classrooms, online meetings, and virtual presentations. The free version of Vyew supports up to ten real-time participants per session.
Moodle – Moodle is a popular open source Course Management System (CMS) used for creating educational websites. Moodle can also be used to conduct fully online courses.
ATutor – ATutor is a free, web-based social learning environment that quickly assembles online courses and other elearning materials. Once created, courses and other ATutor features can be easily accessed by enrolled students.
SugarLabs – SugarLabs is an open source learning platform for children. The platform can be used to create courses, lessons, and classroom activities for elementary and middle school students.
Sclipo – Sclipo is a web learning application that is free for K-12 and university teachers. The application can be used to present courses, live meetings, webinars, and resource libraries.
OER Commons – OER Commons is a network of open source teaching and learning materials that can be freely used or re-used. After registering for an account, site visitors can contribute their own content or search for content that has been created by other people.
OCW Consortium – The OpenCourseWare (OCW) Consortium is a collaboration of more than 200 higher education institutions and organizations that offer free educational materials to people around the world. Site visitors can browse individual OpenCourseWare sites or search for course materials using the OCW Consortium search engine.
MIT OCW – The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s OpenCourseWare (OCW) project is an online publication of nearly all of the school’s undergraduate- and graduate-level course materials. Site visitors can search for a course that interests them and access all of the course’s available materials. Most courses include lecture notes, reading lists, assignments, and audio or video.
Free-Ed.Net – Free-ed.net collects courses, tutorials, lessons, and other educational materials from around the web and puts them on one easy-to-access page. Courses are free to everyone and cover nearly every topic imaginable.
GCFLearnFree.org – Created by the Goodwill Community Foundation, GCFLearnFree.org is a free online learning source with more than one million members. The site offers short, interactive courses and lessons that cover everything from math and reading to computers and careers.
Small Business Training Network – The U.S. Small Business Administration offers several free online courses through their Small Business Training Network (SBTN). Most of the courses are self-paced and take approximately 30 minutes to complete. Courses cover business planning, finance, accounting, marketing, advertising, management, and more.
Education-Portal.com – This site offers a comprehensive directory of course available for free online. Course categories include business, technology, science, and liberal arts.
Karen Schweitzer is the About.com Guide to Business School.
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